Teen Television

Essays on Programming and Fandom

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About the Book

This essay collection explores the phenomenon of “teen TV” in the United States, analyzing the meanings and manifestations of this category of programming from a variety of perspectives. Part One views teen television through an industrial perspective, examining how networks such as WB, UPN, The CW, and The N have created a unique economic framework based on demographic niches and teen-focused narrowcasting.
Part Two focuses on popular teen programs from a cultural context, evaluating how such programs reflect and at times stretch the envelope of the cultural contexts in which they are created. Finally, Part Three explores the cultures of reception (including the realms of teen consumerism, fan discourse, and unofficial production) through which teens and consumers of teen media have become authors of the teenage experience in their own right.

About the Author(s)

Sharon Marie Ross is an assistant professor in the television department at Columbia College, Chicago. She has written extensively about television, and is currently the associate editor for the Journal of International Digital Media Arts Association. She lives in Chicago.
Louisa Ellen Stein is an assistant professor of film and media culture at Middlebury College in Vermont. She has written previously on contemporary media culture, including film, television, the Internet and videogames.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Sharon Marie Ross and Louisa Ellen Stein
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 259
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3589-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1062-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction: Watching Teen TV      3

Part I—The Industrial Context of Teen TV      27

1. TV Teen Club: Teen TV as Safe Harbor

Jeff Martin      27

2. Teen Television and the WB Television Network

Valerie Wee      43

3. Defining Teen Culture: The N Network

Sharon Marie Ross      61

4. Rocking Prime Time: Gender, the WB, and Teen Culture

Ben Aslinger      78

Part II—Teens on TV      93

5. “Normal is the watchword”: Exiling Cultural Anxieties and Redefining Desire from the Margins

Caralyn Bolte      93

6. Riding the Third Wave: The Multiple Feminisms of Gilmore Girls

Francesca Gamber      114

7. “That girl of yours—she’s pretty hardboiled, huh?”: Detecting Feminism in Veronica Mars

Andrea Braithwaite      132

8. The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Fan: Consumption and Queer Inspiration in Six Feet Under

Barbara Brickman      150

9. “They stole me”: The O.C., Masculinity, and the Strategies of Teen TV

Sue Turnbull      170

Part III—Cultures of Reception      185

10. Fashion Sleuths and Aerie Girls: Veronica Mars’ Fan

Forums and Network Strategies of Fan Address

Jennifer Gillan      185

11. The Adventures of a Repressed Farm Boy and the Billionaire Who Loves Him: Queer Spectatorship in Smallville Fandom

Melanie E.S. Kohnen      207

12. Pushing at the Margins: Teenage Angst in Teen TV and Audience Response

Louisa Ellen Stein      224

Contributors      245

Index      249

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating…amazing…required reading for anyone in the film and/or television industry…fascinating and interesting”—Canyon News.